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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Professor Germaine Greer

1999
Polly Borland

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 44.6 cm x 58.7 cm, image: 39.4 cm x 49.6 cm)

Germaine Greer (b. 1939) is the author of the influential feminist book, The Female Eunuch (1970), which examines the ways in which passivity in women has been encouraged. The book was a sensation; it has never been out of print since it was first published, has been translated into twelve languages and has sold over one million copies. Born in Melbourne, Greer has not lived in Australia since the 1960s, but remains one of the country's best-known expatriates. For nearly forty years she has been an international academic and media personality and a truculent spokesperson on women's issues; thousands of fans and foes await her next provocative pronouncement. Greer's diverse books include The Obstacle Race (1979), about women painters; Sex and Destiny (1984), about the politics of fertility; The Change (1991), about menopause; and The Beautiful Boy (2003), about the representation of boys in art.

In 1999, Polly Borland was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, London to photograph prominent Australians living in Britain, including Greer. As Greer noted of the image in Polly Borland Australians: 'It was my idea to take my clothes off … because I did not fancy being portrayed on my bed like an old lady in a nursing home … It might surprise people to discover that sixty-one-year-old ladies can be playful.'

Purchased 2001
© Polly Borland

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Polly Borland (age 40 in 1999)

Dr Germaine Greer (age 60 in 1999)

Subject professions

Activism

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Untitled #21/09 (after Ricci, 1700; featuring Matthew Mitcham)
Untitled #21/09 (after Ricci, 1700; featuring Matthew Mitcham)
Untitled #21/09 (after Ricci, 1700; featuring Matthew Mitcham)
Untitled #21/09 (after Ricci, 1700; featuring Matthew Mitcham)

Getting bare

Magazine article by Penelope Grist, 2015

How seven portraits within Bare reveal in a public portrait parts of the body and elements of life usually located in the private sphere.

Clive James
Clive James
Clive James
Clive James

Golden Jubilee

Magazine article by Magda Keaney, 2002

Polly Borland's photograph of The Queen was commissioned by Buckingham Palace as part of a series of high profile celebrations to mark the Golden Jubilee.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency